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Questions tagged [speed-of-light]

The speed of light is a fundamental universal constant that marks the maximum speed at which energy and information can propagate. Its value is $299792458\frac{\mathrm{m}}{\mathrm{s}}$.

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Why is an electromagnetic wave represented by two perpendicular sine waves instead of a sine and cosine?

In all representations of electromagnetic radiation that I've seen they represent the electric field and the magnetic field as two perpendicular waves, but they always have them both as sine waves: ...
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Can we measure the speed of light in one direction?

I'm sorry if this is a dumb question. Recently I was learning that it's impossible for us to measure the speed of light in one direction. We can only measure it in two directions and we assume that it'...
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Are tachyons time travelers?

If tachyons are faster than light, that means they have passed a certain point before anyone or anything can “see” them. Theories have mentioned that if anything can go faster than light, then it can ...
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Cooling photons to a solid state

Can we cool photons so the stop moving completely? So they can behave like particles in a solid.
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31 views

Looking back in past [on hold]

Can faster than light communication give us the ability to see in the past, that is to say, if we can imagine a ultra huge highly advance telescope 60 light minutes away from earth and we want to look ...
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When we burn a match stick it did not go at $c$ speed, why?

When we burn a match stick then mass is converting into energy then according to the relativity match stick particles should go at speed of light but it did not happen why
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why does speed of light have a limit?why cant it go faster? [duplicate]

Do we have any proof that speed of light can't go any faster? what is the reason that light cant go faster?
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Relationship between poynting vector and radiation pressure

I know that When an electromagnetic wave is absorbed or reflected by a surface, the momentum of the wave is transferred to the surface. I also know that for absorption the radiation pressure is 〈S〉/c ...
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If we know the distance of distant light emitting object, how could we know the age without knowing how long the light has been here?

I have been contemplating the age of our observable universe, and I was unsure as to how we could tell the age by only dividing the distance by the constant without knowing how long the light has been ...
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Why do two moving inertial frames of reference atribute the same velocity to each other?

In both relativity and Newtonian mechanics, it is a self-evident axiom according to which two inertial observers who move relative to each other measure the same velocity of, say, $v$. I want to know ...
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How was the value of vacuum permittivity originally found?

The vacuum permittivity appears originally in Maxwell's equations, used to describe electric fields. The permeability of vacuum was defined using Ampere's force law (itself derived from Biot-Savart ...
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Relativity thought experiment - spaceship travelling at speed of light [closed]

I have basis knowledge in special relativity, but I haven't studied it for too long and I'm stuck in a simple thought experiment. Assume that there is a spaceship departing from the earth at speed of ...
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Expansion of the infinite square well [closed]

I was studying the expectation value of the energy of a particle in the groud state of the infinite square well after its expansion in terms of width (from $a$ to $2a$), which is: $$\langle H\rangle= ...
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Is the speed of light greater if traveling at an initial velocity greater than zero? [duplicate]

I'm reading "a brief history of time" and he states "the speed of light should be the same whatever the speed of the source, and this has been confirmed," (24). Why is it not increased if it has an ...
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How do light rays move parallel at the event horizon and why is this necessary?

This whole question and subquestions are based on the assumption that light rays on the event horizon are normal to the event horizon, so my apologies if this is not correct In A Brief History of ...
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55 views

Measuring the speed of light

Imagine that you have 2 devices in a room (say 2 identical smartphones) and you video-call one another. Once connected, you arrange them in such a way that the outer (not the selfie) camera of the ...
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A fundamental question about charge and speed of a particle [duplicate]

Hi everybody and happy 2019. In my teaching sessions sometimes someone asks questions i cannot truly answer (although i have many arguments on it) and here's one that really puzzles me: A massless (...
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1answer
87 views

Does light know the future? [duplicate]

As I understand it, if light is traveling at the speed of light, then from it's point of view space is fully compressed in its direction of travel. Does that mean that from it's point of view, light ...
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Does light get acceleration due to gravity? [duplicate]

When an object, say a ball, is attracted by the black hole it gets acceleration due to gravity. Suppose light is moving towards the black hole vertical to it... then does it gain acceleration due to ...
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Special and general relativity

Is the light postulate in special relativity (that the speed of light is constant in all frames of reference) correct if the equivalence principle shows that light slows down in gravitational field? ...
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Interdependence of time, the speed of light and distance in General Relativity

In the relation $$ \text{time}\cdot\text{speed of light} = \text{distance}\,,$$ by definition, the speed of light is constant. When bringing a clock, like in a GPS satellite, up into orbit, i.e. ...
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What really is the speed of light in a medium/vacuum, group or phase velocity?

While reading about refractive index 2 terms popped up, group velocity which alway slows down in a medium and phase velocity which may exceed speed of light. Say in a complete vacuum and using laser ...
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4answers
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$E=mc^2$: Why does the speed of light constant affect the Energy or Mass of an object? [closed]

So this is really just for fun. I often talk to my friend who studied some Physics degree (or similar) and he simply cannot accept the possibility it could be wrong in any way. To the point where he ...
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Non-Relativistic Limit of Klein-Gordon Probability Density

In the lecture notes accompanying an introductory course in relativistic quantum mechanics, the Klein-Gordon probability density and current are defined as: $$ \begin{eqnarray} P & = & \dfrac{...
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Trying to understand velocity addition and time dilation [duplicate]

I'm familiar with Einstein's formulae $V=\frac{u+v}{1+ \frac{uv}{c^2}}$ and $\Delta t'=\frac{\Delta t}{\sqrt{1-\frac{v^2}{c^2}}}$, the former being velocity addition and the latter being time dilation....
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Rule of addition of velocities in water

Is the speed of light still the same for all inertial observers in water? If not, what are the rules of addition of velocities in water according to special relativity?
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Exceeding the speed of light [closed]

I understand that the speed of light c is derived from the self-interaction between elections/photons, and is thus the maximum speed of anything composed of electrons/photons. Suppose that there is a ...
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1answer
51 views

Einstein's frozen wave?

Here's the quote from Stephen Hawking's latest book. At the age of sixteen, when he (Einstein) visualised riding on a beam of light, he realised that from this vantage light would appear as a ...
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2answers
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Error of relativistic kinetic energy

I have recently begun working on the special relativity theory. I have then made the taylor series for the gamma factor to show that we get the classic formula for kinetic energy: $$E _ { k i n } = m ...
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2answers
52 views

Energy requirements for relativistic acceleration

I want to visualize the energy required to continue accelerating near the speed of light. If I use some amount of energy to accelerate to 0.5c, what speed will I be going if I use the same amount of ...
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Can the Dirac Hamiltonian accommodate a variable speed of light?

The Dirac Hamiltonian has the form1 $$\left[\beta m c^2+c\sum_{n=1}^3\alpha_np_n\right]$$ where $\alpha_n$ and $\beta$ are Hermitian matrices, and $c$ is the speed of light. My question: Is there a ...
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Another objection to Feynman's moving infinite sheet of charge “radiator”

In The Feynman Lectures on Physics Vol II 18-4, A travelling field we are provided the thought experiment of two uniformly and oppositely electrically charged planar sheets of infinite extent lying in ...
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2answers
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Do you feel the radiated heat of an explosion before you see it?

Do the infra-red rays reach us before the visible light does. I understand they have different wavelength but I don't know much else. Please answer the question if the explosion was in air and if it ...
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Relation Between Speed of Light & Reflected Angle (Fizeau–Foucault)

I have a bachelor's in physics & its recently struck me that I do not understand, semantically, what phenomenon allows us to measure the speed of light through air in a small room with a laser and ...
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How do we know that light cannot travel faster than it does?

We assume the speed of light in vacuum is its maximum speed but can we not assume that it could be faster, or slower?
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Do light cones “tilt” towards black holes?

In some diagrams, light cones becomes "thinner" near black holes. Meaning the light has trouble moving nearer or further away. As in this picture. I presume this corresponds to someone observing that ...
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1answer
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Is the Earth orbiting an 'illusory' Sun, owing to the 'speed' of gravity? [duplicate]

We see the Sun about eight minutes after light left it. Presumably this means we are also experiencing the Sun's gravity 8 minutes after it 'left' the Sun. So are we orbiting around the Sun we can ...
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Is speed of light is the only way to measure time [closed]

After reading up on special relativity, I understood that because of Einstein's postulates -the speed of light in free space is a universal constant Everytime we measure time for an event, directly ...
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Purported non-constant speed of light

What is going on there to make it appear that light is slower than $c$ ? Here is the popular science news article: Speed of light not so constant after all; Pulse structure can slow photons, even ...
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Speed vs Velocity of light in Light clock thought experiment

A related question has been asked multiple times (like here, here and here). But none of those answers are clearing my doubt. In fact they're furthering my confusion. My specific doubt is regarding ...
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Speed of light question [closed]

Is this true? 1) c + 25 = c Also how was the speed of light measured? Did they use a black body to capture the excessive light back then?
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1answer
63 views

Measuring speed of light [closed]

I have an interesting thought: could we use recursion between two mirrors to measure speed of light? It seems to be not really hard experiment. How could we do it? I'm not sure about how the picture ...
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1answer
35 views

Is the two events of an orbiting moon of Jupiter added together to calculate the actual moment?

An observer on earth watching the orbit of a moon around Jupiter.Jupiter is at it's farthest distance from earth roughly 601 million miles which takes light roughly 54 minutes to arrive to earth. When ...
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Thought experiment - faster than speed of light travel [closed]

I came up with a thought experiment and it has been on my mind for quite some time now. Would like to hear the thoughts of others as my wife has no clue what I'm talking about. Given two points of ...
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Do Maxwell's equations predict the speed of light exactly?

I know that $\frac{1}{\sqrt{\mu_0\varepsilon_0}}$ is equal to the speed of light but is this prediction accurate? I mean is it 100 percent accurate?
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Paradox of the magnetic field's collapse [closed]

Imagine two strong electromagnets (X and Y) enough far from each other. Facts: 1.) We know the magnetic fields spreading with the speed of light. 2.) When the magnetic fields reach the other ...
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54 views

How can individual neutrinos have different amounts of energy?

Photons have no mass, travel at the speed of light, and their energy is related to their frequency. Neutrinos have a very small mass, travel at almost the speed of light; what is their energy related ...
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If the speed of light is a limit, is there a way to tell which direction we are moving through space and how fast?

Say two photons start at point A, and go in opposite directions. They will be traveling apart at 2x the speed of light correct? So if this limit is how fast you are able to travel through space (and ...
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Can someone travelling close to the speed of light witness the end of the universe? [closed]

I have read that objects with non-zero rest mass cannot attain light speed $c$. But for the sake of this question let us assume that Mr. X can get as close to $c$ as he wants. So this means that an ...
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Why the speed of light is independent of the relative motion of observer? [duplicate]

As we use Lorentz transformation equation to relate velocity of particle measured by observer which is in frame s this frame is in relative motion having some velocity to that particle so Why the ...